WILDE

Empowering accessibility in the beauty industry through Wilde’s hair care range with Braille

Location:

Cavanbah | Byron Bay, Australia

Selling:

World wide

Sector:

Beauty - Hair care

Our role:

Development of Braille Product Solution; Creative Direction, Packaging Strategy and Design, Product Naming and Messaging, User Testing, Production Management.

Background

Over the past decade, we've witnessed a remarkable evolution in the beauty industry, shifting away from the notion of exclusivity towards a greater emphasis on inclusivity. However, despite this progress, the journey towards true accessibility and inclusivity in beauty is ongoing.

By Ninja's foray into this realm began with a fortuitous meeting between our Creative Overlord, Kathleen, and Narelle—an individual who navigates life with a vision impairment. Upon hearing Narelle's daily challenges in differentiating beauty products, Kathleen was inspired to leverage her
design expertise and industry connections to develop a viable, accessible solution for beauty packaging.

With Narelle's support, By Ninja embarked on a journey of innovation. Together, they tested and explored alternatives beyond conventional braille incorporation, resulting in a tactile 3D printed solution.

The next step was to become a catalyst for change by enlisting beauty companies to adopt this solution. Luxury Australian hair care brand Wilde, pioneers in their own right, eagerly stepped forward to champion broader inclusivity in their business. Their latest luxury line, ‘Violet + Hemp Seed Blonde Enrich,’ has just launched with the 3D printed braille system, with plans to extend it across the entire product range in the future.

Our role in this project has been unique, with By Ninja leveraging its expertise to drive the initiative and enlisting the support of progressive companies like Wilde to bring this vision to life.

Our approach

Our journey toward inclusive beauty products was marked by a proactive approach to overcoming challenges. We conducted thorough research, collaborating closely with co-designers, Narelle and Mark, as well as our suppliers to refine prototypes and samples. With generous support from the founder of Wilde, Oscar Cullinan, we invested additional resources to bring our vision to fruition. Despite the increased production costs associated with incorporating braille, Wilde’s commitment to accessibility remained steadfast.

At WILDE, our values are deeply rooted in nature and inclusivity, and including braille on our packaging was a natural progression of those values. We believe everyone should have equal access to quality products and this small but significant change reflects our dedication to making that a reality.

— Oscar Cullinan, Founder of Wilde


In our pursuit of accessibility, we encountered several practical challenges. To mitigate the high costs associated with integrating braille into packaging moulds, we employed a specialised 3D printing technique for braille application, albeit limited to rigid plastics. This limitation led us to devise innovative solutions — in this case, that was printing braille directly onto the caps. However, this approach then posed another challenge as we needed to ensure the caps remained secure and distinguishable during product usage.

Additionally, ensuring braille readability also required meticulous consideration of production factors, including size, depth, and material characteristics. These challenges underscored the complexities of creating inclusive packaging solutions.

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Personal encounters with individuals facing challenges can profoundly shift our awareness and drive to foster inclusivity, even in what seem like seemingly small ways.

Without our Creative Overlord’s chance encounter with Narelle, this entire project would very likely not have existed, as it was, at the time, beyond the scope of her lived experience and understanding.

The solution

Our solution integrates raised 3D printing on essential components of the primary containers — on the caps in the case of the Violet + Hemp Seed Blonde Enrich products — and blind embossing on boxes to ensure both accessibility and aesthetic appeal.

The Blonde Enrich products were designed with integrated lids that remain securely attached to the products during use, to ensure they are not lost or confused with another. To aid product identification, different shaped packaging was used to differentiate the shampoo (bottles) from the conditioner (tubes), simplifying identification for those unable to read braille. For braille-literate consumers, clear labelling on caps spells out 'Blonde Shampoo/Conditioner'. Boxes feature a standard design for easy opening, with braille discreetly positioned on a panel that's easily locatable for visually impaired individuals yet seamlessly blends into the overall design for sighted consumers. This approach allows for the complete transcription of product names in braille, enhancing accessibility without compromising on elegance.

These innovations mark the debut of Wilde's accessible hair care line, positioning the brand as a pioneer in luxury accessibility within Australia and inspiring a broader movement towards inclusivity in the beauty industry.

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The results

Through the implementation of accessible packaging, individuals like Narelle now have improved access to beauty products. Wilde's initiative not only enhances convenience but also fosters independence by alleviating the stress and frustration associated with product identification for people with visual impairments. This project sets a precedent for inclusivity in the beauty industry, demonstrating the tangible benefits of considering diverse needs in product design and fostering a more accessible marketplace.

Utilising braille on everyday products opens up a world of inclusion, accessibility and knowledge that proactively demonstrates care for adults and children who are blind or have low vision. Knowing that a business has thought of all its customers in an inclusive way, is strong encouragement to purchase that product.

Braille House

Having products that are distinguishable would mean everything. It would take away the stress of identification. It would take away frustration. It would give me more independence.

Narelle Gatti

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Special thanks

There are some individuals who without them, this project would not have become a reality. A very special thanks goes to the following people:

  • Narelle Gatti, Digital Access Consultant and Auditor at DASAT
  • Mark Muscat, Assistive and Access Technology Expert at DASAT
  • Oscar Cullinan, Founder of Wilde and Oscar Oscar Salons




For press enquiries, please contact:
Paige Bradford
pkb@an-ode-global.com
+61 434 012 568

Photography and video by Callie Marshall Photography

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